Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly: Dylan Garand get first pro shutout amid team struggles

Similar to their parent club the New York Rangers, struggle has been a common theme for the Hartford Wolf Pack this season.

Hartford wrapped up November with a three game skid (0-2-0-1) entering December’s slate of games. The Wolf Pack compiled a 3-5-0-3 record for November securing nine of 22 points last month and continue to keep pace in the American Hockey League’s Atlantic Division for the final playoff spot (sixth).

Currently, they’re three points behind sixth place Lehigh Valley entering the weekend. The fifth place club, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton are eight points ahead. Hartford is starting to run out of time as playoffs could be slipping away amid these difficult times.

Hartford is ranked last (eighth) in the division. The Wolf Pack are 5-7-1-4 for 15 points through 17 games. December will be tough sledding as the Wolf Pack have 13 games to close out the year.

Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly

In last week’s action, the Wolf Pack struggled to find the back of the net, especially in the last two outings against Hershey. Hartford managed to notch one goal against the Hershey Bears in the weekend series.

That was proceeded by Wednesday’s outing against Bridgeport where Hartford managed to score three goals while giving up six. We have seen games where Hartford is able to produce three, four, or even up to five goals but as soon as the offense goes cold the coaching staff is tinkering with the lines.

Hartford has registered the least amount of goals in the league with 41. The second worst is the Utica Comets with 43 goals.

On the defensive aspect of the game, Hartford’s young group is improving. However, they continue to have a few hiccups which leads to goals against.

For instance, Hartford gave Hershey a couple of breakaway opportunities over the weekend. The defense also had a rough outing last Wednesday against Bridgeport but it’s still an improvement to the start of the season.

On special teams, the once strong power play is another struggling area for the Pack. Hartford is predictable and have not generated enough high quality chances on net a man up. The club is ranked 29th in the league, operating at 15.6%.

As the season progresses, there are more questions than answers to the disappointing season for the Rangers affiliate.

Wolf Pack goaltending

New York Rangers Dylan Garand
Dylan Garand gets into game mode for Kamloops Blazers (Photo courtesy of Kamloops Blazers/ Credit: Allen Douglas)

Despite rough stats for Louis Domingue and Dylan Garand, they continue to be the bright spots on Hartford’s roster. Both goaltenders gives Hartford an opportunity to collect points almost every night. Unfortunately they are not supported enough to get the wins in net.

The team is just not in sync. If the offense clicks, the defense struggles and vice versa.

Dylan Garand Bounces Back With Shutout

The 20 year-old prospect played in two of three games last weekend. Garand had difficulties in his first game against Bridgeport, which featured a few misplays with the puck. Despite his first rough game of his professional career, Garand made strides by showing he can bounce back.

In his second game of the week against Hershey, Garand rebounded and got Hartford a point. It was a contest the team had no business getting a point. Garand made impressive stops throughout the contest and was not phased by Hershey’s 38 shots. Even in the high pressure situations, when Hartford was down a player, Garand played comfortably and stood tall.

The Rangers prospect secured his first shutout of the season as the game went to a shootout. In the skills competition, the Hershey Bears won 2-1 and the game 1-0. The goaltender stopped one of three shootout shots. Despite the loss, Garand was Hartford’s best player of the game.

This season, Dylan Garand is 1-4-2 with a 3.21 goals against average and a .902 save percentage. Again, these stats are not fair to his performance with the team’s defensive struggles.

Louis Domingue playing big

The veteran goaltender played in one game last week stopping 26 of 28 shots as Hartford dropped the game by a score of 2-1.

Domingue, 30, has appeared in two more games than Garand this season. He’s 4-3-3 with a 2.51 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. His goals against average is ranked 12th lowest in the AHL.

Wolf Pack News and Notes

Injury Updates

  • Tim Gettinger was injured from blocking a shot in last Friday’s game. He was hurt in his wrist area and did not return. He was scratched last Saturday.
  • Gustav Rydahl missed the last three games. His last game was on November 20th. The extent of his injury is unknown.
  • Patrick Khodorenko remains out of the lineup from his injury. His last game was on October 28th. Timetable to return is to be determined.

Transaction

  • Hartford called up center Ryan Lohin from Jacksonville ECHL on November 26th.

One Timers

  • Andy Welinski leads the defense in points (10). The veteran has three goals and seven assists in 16 games.
  • Tim Gettinger leads the forward group in points (10). The forward has six goals and four assists in 16 games. Gettinger has the most goals on the team as well.
  • Jonny Brodzinski has the most assists among the forwards with seven.
  • Hartford will be playing five games in the next two weeks. Their road trip to visit Central Division opponents will begin on December 14th and conclude December 17th.

Wolf Pack Upcoming Games

Saturday, December 3rd vs Rockford Ice Hogs (Chicago) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the first meeting between the clubs in franchise history. Hartford will play two games against Rockford.
  • Entering Friday, Rockford is 9-7-0-1 for 19 points. That ranks the group fifth in the Central Division and 12th in the Western Conference. The Ice Hogs are 6-3-0-1 in their last ten outings. In the last five games, Rockford is 3-2. Prior to Saturday’s game, Rockford will face Springfield the night before.
  • Experienced forward Brett Seney leads the club in points with 23. In 17 games, Seney registered 10 goals and 13 assists. He is ranked fourth in the league for points. David Gust is ranked second in the club in points with 22. In 17 outings, the forward recorded 10 goals and 12 assists. He is ranked sixth highest in the AHL. The Ice hogs have four players in the top 20 for points in the league.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Sunday, December 4th vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 3:05pm, Amica Mutual Pavilion

  • This is the first of ten meeting in the season series. Last season, Hartford went 4-4-2 against the Bruins. The second meeting will be in Hartford on January 14th and the third meeting will be in Providence on January 15th.
  • Entering the weekend, Providence is 12-3-3-2 for 29 points. That ranks the club second in the Atlantic and Eastern Conference. The Bruins are 5-2-2-1 in the last ten games and are 3-5 in the last five outings.
  • Former Rangers forward Vinni Lettieri leads the Bruins in points with 18. Through 19 games, Lettieri recorded nine goals and nine assists. Bruins prospect Luke Toporowski is second on the team in points with 16. He has nine goals and seven assists in 19 games.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Wednesday, December 7th vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the first of four meetings between the clubs. Last season, Hartford went 2-3-0-1 against the Phantoms.
  • The Phantoms will face Charlotte on Friday and Saturday before visiting the Wolf Pack.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Friday, December 9th vs Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the second meeting in franchise history against Milwaukee. The first meeting was on February 14th, 2003. Hartford will play two games against the Admirals.
  • The Admirals will face the Manitoba Moose twice, followed by a game against Rockford before visiting Hartford.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, December 10th vs Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit) at 7pm, XL Center

  • The last time Hartford faced Grand Rapids was in the 2008-09 season. The Griffins last game at the XL Center was on January 2nd, 2009. This is the first of two games against the clubs.
  • The Griffins will play four games prior to the meeting against Hartford. Grand Rapids will play Texas twice, followed by the Iowa Wild. Then the club will face Springfield, followed by Hartford.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.
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